India Widens It’s Nuclear Horn

India Test Fires Agni-V Nuclear-Capable ICBM

Franz-Stefan Gady

India has successfully test fired its most advanced nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Agni-V, the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement. The missile was fired from a canister on a road mobile launcher at Dr Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of the eastern Indian state of Odisha on December 10.

“The launch operations were carried out and monitored by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) in presence of Scientists from Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and other associated officials,” the MoD statement reads.  The flight performance of the Agni-V was tracked and monitored by radars, tracking instruments and observation stations. According to the MoD, the user trial of the new ICBM was successful. All test objectives were met.

The December 10 test firing constitutes the seventh test launch of the three-stage Agni-V ICBM, officially designated as an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), and the third launch in 2018. The last test of the missile took place on June 3. A previous test occurred on January 18. In both instances, the ICBM was launched in deliverable configuration from a hermetically sealed canister mounted on a mobile transporter erector launcher.

The missile was fired in a similar configuration in December 2016 and January 2015. The former launch included testing the missile for its full range. Two other tests that took place in April 2012 and September 2013 respectively, involved the launch of the Agni-V in ‘open configuration.’ The Agni-V is expected to be inducted into service in the coming months. (Earlier media reports suggested a December 2018 induction date.) An operational deployment of the new ICBM would require at least two additional test firings by the SFC.

Development of the Agni-V began in 2008. The ICBM features indigenously designed navigation and guidance systems including a ring laser gyroscope based inertial navigation system. The missile has been primarily developed as a strategic nuclear deterrent against China. As I noted previously:

While previous nuclear-capable missiles of the series (Agni-I, Agni-II, and Agni-III) were developed to offset Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the Agni-IV, [and] Agni-V (…) given their longer ranges, are designed to provide a credible nuclear deterrent against China.

Additionally, I explained:

The Agni-V, a three-stage solid fueled missile, has an approximate range of 5,500-5,800 kilometers [the exact range remains classified, but it is assumed that the missile has a range of 6,000-7,500 kilometers], and can carry a 1,500-kilogram (3,300-pound) nuclear warhead. India has reportedly also been working on multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) for the Agni-V in order to ensure a credible second-strike capability.

The Agni-V’s increased accuracy could pose a problem for long-term strategic stability in South Asia.  The missile’s reduced launch time, paired with India’s burgeoning maneuverable reentry vehicle (MaRV) and MIRV technology, can reduce decision-making time in crisis situations and invite miscalculation.

The Race to the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Image result for nuclear war india pakistanMissile and arms race

December 7, 2018

The quick expansion of military technologies and arms race between the two nations is the mere result of their divergent threat perceptions. Obviously, the competitive security narratives and their past stories of unending hostility between the two are the root causes of such perceptions. Among all the major military technologies, Missile Technology is the most expensive one. It eats up the lion’s share of both the countries’ defence budgets.

Moreover, the history depicts that Pakistan has always created the reaction of the action initiated by India. For example, the nuclear weapons, Pakistan commenced its nuclear programme after India’s so-called “Peaceful Nuclear Explosion” in 1974. Similarly, India, first, conducted the nuclear explosion in May 1998. Hence, Pakistan was left with no other option but to react in the same way in order to balance the mismatched power in the region. Resultantly, it is high time that India realized to stop allocating its resources in unnecessary military technologies so that Pakistan doesn’t need to react to balance the disturbed power.

SHEERAZ AKHTAR BHUTTO

Shikarpur, Sindh

Babylon the Great’s Nuclear Horn

This Pictures Should Terrify Russia, North Korea and China Like Nothing Else

The bomber’s weapons bay could end up being more of a mission payload bay, with surveillance, communications, drone or electronic warfare packages loaded inside to facilitate a variety of missions, particularly in denied environments. The Raider is on the path to being America’s first multirole bomber.

On October 27, 2015, nearly thirty-four years to the day after Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract to develop the first stealth bomber, the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop a contract for a new bomber: the B-21 Raider. While many of the details of the Raider are shrouded in mystery, we do know a few things about it, and can infer others.

(This first appeared last year.)

The B-21 Raider bomber takes its name from both the twenty-first century and the legendary 1942 raid by Gen. James “Jimmy” Doolittle’s force of B-25 Mitchell bombers against targets in and around Tokyo, Japan. In invoking the Doolittle Raid, the Air Force is drawing attention to attack’s audacious nature, the strategic and tactical surprise, and the epic distances General Doolittle and his “raiders” flew to accomplish their mission.

A tailless, batlike aircraft, the official rendering of the B-21 Raider released by the Air Force bears a superficial resemblance to the B-2 Spirit bomber. There are important distinctions, however. The B-21 moves its engines closer to the wing root, where they occupy the juncture between wing and fuselage, whereas the B-2’s twin pairs of General Electric F118-GE-100 engines are distinctly apart from the fuselage on the wing. The Raider’s engine air intakes are angled and not serrated like those on the B-2 Spirit. The Raider also has overwing exhausts to mask the infrared signature of the four engines, unlike the B-2. (Interestingly, this is exactly how the B-2’s exhausts were depicted in an April 1988 artist’s conception of that bomber.)

The aircraft appears similar in size to the B-2 Spirit, almost certainly making it a four-engine bomber. The  announcement of Pratt and Whitney in 2016  as a B-21 subcontractor narrows down the new bomber’s engines to two designs: the F-100 and the F-135. The mature F-100, which powers the F-15 Eagle series of fighters, seems a sound choice, but the Air Force may want the F-135, which powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, for its growth potential and ability to lower engine costs for the F-35 fleet.

Like its predecessor, the B-21 Raider will be a heavy strategic bomber designed to carry both nuclear and conventional weapons. If the B-2 is of similar size, it follows it will carry a similar amount of ordinance. This means two bomb bays. In order to keep costs down, the Air Force may elect to reuse the Advanced Applications Rotary Launcher from the B-2 bomber. The AARL is fitted one per bomb bay, each capable of carrying eight bombs or missiles.

In the nuclear mission, the Air Force will arm the B-21 with the Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) missile, the next-generation stealthy nuclear cruise missile. It will also carry B-61 free-fall nuclear gravity bombs, particularly the new  B61-12 bomb  with “dial-a-yield” capability. A combination of these two weapons will allow the B-21 to use its stealthy cruise missiles to clear a path through the enemy air-defense network before dropping B-61 bombs on primary and secondary targets.

For conventional missions, the B-21 will carry the  JASSM-ER conventional cruise missile  and two-thousand-pound  GBU-31 Joint Directed Attack Munition  satellite-guided bombs. The B-21 could use these weapons in a similar manner as its nuclear weapons, blasting its way through the enemy’s defenses before dropping JDAMs. Alternately, the B-21 could be used as a missile truck, launching up to sixteen JASSM-ERs at enemy targets from a distance, or penetrating less sophisticated enemy defenses to deliver JDAMs on target. The B-21 will also need to carry the thirty-thousand-pound  Massive Ordnance Penetrator bomb , the largest conventional bomb in the U.S. arsenal, as the B-2 is currently the only bomber capable of lifting the enormous bomb.

Like many new weapons systems, the Air Force has instructed Northrop Grumman to build the bomber with a so-called “open architecture” hardware and software system. As a result, unlike previous bombers, the B-21 could become much more than just a heavy bomber. The open-architecture specification should ensure that future upgrades will be relatively easy to integrate into the B-21, and for the bomber to adapt to a slew of new, different missions. The bomber’s weapons bay could end up being more of a mission payload bay, with surveillance, communications, drone or electronic warfare packages loaded inside to facilitate a variety of missions, particularly in denied environments. The Raider is on the path to being America’s first multirole bomber.

The B-21 Raider is set to fly in the mid-2020s, and the Air Force plans to buy at least a hundred of the bombers to replace the B-52H Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer bombers. A larger fleet of up to two hundred bombers is possible, but entirely bound to fiscal realities. We don’t know what the Raider in its final form will look like, or when the Air Force will release more information on an aircraft it wants to carefully protect. The B-21 has disappeared into the “black” world of military technology, and will only reemerge when the bomber is ready.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the  Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring  and the  Daily Beast.  In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter:  @KyleMizokami.

US Ready to Break Russian Nuclear Deal

Pompeo says US suspending landmark nuclear deal because of Russian violations

By Conor Finnegan

Dec 4, 2018, 1:48 PM

One of the key treaties that helped to end the Cold War and reduce nuclear tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and now Russia could be dead within a matter of months.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at NATO Headquarters Tuesday that the U.S. will suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty in 60 days because of Russia’s continued violations of the treaty, shortly after NATO’s foreign ministers affirmed its support for that conclusion in a new joint statement.

“We had a party– a treaty that had two parties, only one of which is compliant!” Pompeo said Tuesday in Brussels, Belgium. “That’s not an agreement, that’s just self-restraint, and it strategically no longer made sense to remain in that position.”

President Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton had previously suggested the U.S. would withdraw from the treaty, but Pompeo’s announcement Tuesday officially starts the clock.

The decision comes as the U.S. seeks to counter a “larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage,” according to Pompeo, but also to take on China’s growing military power, with the top U.S. diplomat warning the treaty gives China a military advantage. But to some arms control experts and Democrats in Congress, the decision was a hasty one that will make the world less safe.

The U.S. will remain in compliance for the next 60 days and then begin the six-month notice period before withdrawal, he said, adding that if Russia comes back into compliance before then, the U.S. could remain in the agreement.

“We would welcome a Russian change of heart, a change in direction, the destruction of their program, and their followed-on continuance of the terms of the treaty, and so over the next 60 days they have every chance to do so,” he said. “But there’s been no indication to date that they have any intention of doing so.”

Pompeo said there is “complete unity” among NATO members on this decision, and it comes after the Foreign Ministers of NATO released a joint statement that says Russia’s development and deployment specifically of the 9M729 missile system “poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security” and “is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty,” paving the way for U.S. withdrawal.

The U.S. has remained in compliance of the treaty, the group added, despite claims by Russia to the contrary.

Russia has denied violating the INF treaty, at first denying the existence of the weapons system and then later admitting it existed but arguing it was in compliance.

President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting at Finland’s Presidential Palace on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki.

Russia’s violations of the landmark nuclear treaty are also part of a “larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage,” Pompeo added, citing its invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, its intervention in Syria in support of the Assad regime, its election interference in the U.S. and other countries, its use of a nerve agent against an ex-spy in the U.K., and most recently its seizure of Ukrainian ships and sailors in international waters.

But Pompeo did give other reasons for U.S. withdrawal, including the fact that China is not a party to the treaty and is beefing up its military capabilities.

China, North Korea, and Iran are not obligated by the treaty’s limitations, and, “This leaves them free to build all the intermediate range missiles they would like,” he said. “There is no reason the United States should continue to cede this crucial military advantage to revisionist powers like China, in particular when these weapons are being used to threaten and coerce the United States and its allies in Asia.”

There was no immediate response in Moscow to Pompeo’s announcement, but Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said earlier on Tuesday that he and President Vladimir Putin had discussed how to take measures to increase Russian troops’ “military capabilities” in response to a potential new “arms race.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. National security adviser John Bolton shake hands during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Oct. 23, 2018.

“Measures were looked at for increasing the military capabilities of troops and forces in the conditions of an arms race, connected with the plans of the U.S. to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty,” Shoigu said, according to Russian-state media.

President Trump lamented this possible arms race in a tweet Monday, calling on Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet to “start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race.”

I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2018

It’s that concern that upset Congressional Democrats, blasting the administration’s decision as a dangerous move that “play[s] directly into President Putin’s plans,” according to Rep. Adam Smith, the incoming Democratic chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

“The Trump administration should instead work with our allies to take meaningful actions to hold Russia accountable for its violation of the treaty, press Russia back into compliance, and avoid a new arms race,” said Smith, D-Washington, in a statement.

ABC News’s Patrick Reevell contributed to this report from Moscow.

China Prepares for Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

China has constructed two terrifying new nuclear submarines (Pic: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

China unleashes deadly new NUKE submarines in race to be next SUPERPOWER

CHINA has constructed two terrifying new nuclear subs as it laps the West in the international arms race amid World War 3 fears.

By Matt Drake

14.12, 02 Dec 2018 UPDATED 21.12, 02 Dec 2018

The Type 094 JIN-class ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBN)  is the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy second generation SSBN and are at the centre of the Communist state’s sea-based nuclear deterrent.

Satellite imagery from Planet Labs has revealed that workers at the Bohai Shipyard at Huludao have constructed the two additional subs that bring China’s total number to at least six.

Skysat imagery of Bohai Shipyard acquired on 16 November 2018 (Pic: Planet Labs)

Catherine Dill of the James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said: “China is continuing to modernise its nuclear weapons programme, broadly.

“There’s a big emphasis on the SSBN program because all of its deliverable nuclear weapons are on land-based systems. Expanding into these SSBNs gives China more flexibly and credibility.

“These observations would not have been possible without the high cadence of the Planet imagery, which gave us 244 days of exploitable imagery to monitor from July 2017 to November 2018.”

It comes after the US Department of Defence’s China military report published in August 2018 claimed China operates four JIN class boats but did not say anything about SSBN’s under construction.

Beijing’s nuclear deterrent is definitely operational (Pic: TASS\TASS via Getty Images)

But the 2016 report said China may produce a fifth hull before turning to the development of the next generation – the Type 096 SSBN in the 2020s.

China currently has a goal of eight nuclear submarines and the photographs suggest it is well on its way to achieving this.

Western observers have underestimated the number of Chinese nuclear subs in development, but they have overestimated how many are operational.

China currently has a goal of eight nuclear submarines (Pic: VCG)

Only half of China’s nuclear-armed SSBNs appear to be operational and the photos of the Bohai Shipyard and the Longpo Naval Facility suggest that “China does not yet have a credible sea-based deterrent,” Ms Dill continued.

She claims that: “Two of China’s four  JIN (or 094)-class subs appear to not be in operation and are undergoing maintenance or repairs at the Bohai shipyard, suggesting to us that credibility is still in question.”

The revelations come as a report this month claimed the US would lose a war against Russia and China.

Four Type 094 are operationally deployed to the Longpo Naval Base on Hainan Island (Pic: Planet Labs)

US submarine USS Albuquerque SSN 706 (Pic: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

US defence chiefs claim its historic military strength has been devastated, leaving it unable to fight more than one war at once.

It was issued by the National Defence Strategy Commission, whose board are appointed by the House and Senate Armed Services committees.

“US military superiority is no longer assured and the implications for American interests and American security are severe,” it says.

Babylon the Great Withdraws from Nuclear Treaty

US makes case for withdrawal from missile treaty with Russia

Maria Danilova, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Russia has for years been developing, testing and deploying a missile that violates a landmark nuclear weapons treaty, a senior White House official said Tuesday, making a case for the administration’s planned withdrawal from the accord ahead of a scheduled meeting between the leaders of the two nations.

The nuclear-capable missile, the official said, can reach over 300 miles (500 kilometers), in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed amid Cold War hostilities in 1987 and which the Trump administration is now seeking to exit.

Russia developed the weapon between 2000 to 2010 and completed testing by 2015, the official said. But when questioned about it in recent years, Moscow officials have denied violating the treaty and demanded to know how the U.S. detected the apparent violation, the official said.

The official said the Trump administration believes it was Russia’s intention to keep the U.S. constrained by the treaty while they developed and deployed the illegal missiles that threaten Europe. The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive foreign policy issue.

The future of the treaty is likely to come up this week when President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 Summit in Argentina. Administration officials have said it is time to withdraw from an accord that is outdated, has prevented the U.S. from developing new weapons and has already been violated with this Russian missile, the 9M729.

It comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Trump suggested Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post that he may cancel the sit-down with Putin over Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian naval ships last weekend.

Russia has denied that it has violated the treaty, saying the 9M729 has not been tested for the range that would make it prohibited. Moscow has also alleged the United States has also breached the accord.

Putin has warned that a U.S. decision to withdraw from the treaty would destabilize Europe and prompt Russia to “respond in kind.” On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reiterated that position.

“We won’t be able to turn a blind eye to the potential deployment of new U.S. missiles on the territories where they may threaten Russia,” Ryabkov said.

The senior U.S. official said the administration, which is seeking support for withdrawal from NATO allies, can still reverse its plan to pull out if Russia acknowledges its violations and takes corrective steps.

Democrats Try to Take Away Trump’s Nuclear Option

Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup

Control of the House will give them ‘the power of no — the ability to block programs, cut funding, withhold agreement.’

By BRYAN BENDER 11/24/2018 07:15 AM EST

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) who is set to become the first progressive in decades to run the House Armed Services Committee. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats preparing to take over the House are aiming to roll back what they see as President Donald Trump’s overly aggressive nuclear strategy.

Their goals include eliminating money for Trump’s planned expansion of the U.S. atomic arsenal, including a new long-range ballistic missile and development of a smaller, battlefield nuclear bomb that critics say is more likely to be used in combat than a traditional nuke.

They also want to stymie the administration’s efforts to unravel arms control pacts with Russia. And they even aim to dilute Trump’s sole authority to order the use of nuclear arms, following the president’s threats to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea and other loose talk about doomsday weapons.

The incoming House majority will have lots of leverage, even with control of only one chamber in the Capitol, veterans of nuclear policy say. They point to precedents in which a Democratic-controlled House cut funding for Ronald Reagan’s MX nuclear missile and a Democratic-led Congress canceled the development of a new atomic warhead under George W. Bush.

They can block funding for weapon systems,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington. “The Democrats’ ascendancy will prove a much-needed check on the Trump administration’s nuclear weapons policy and approaches.”

Leading the charge is Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, who is set to become the first progressive in decades to run the House Armed Services Committee, which is responsible for setting defense policy through the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Smith has long criticized both President Barack Obama and Trump’s $1.2 trillion, 30-year plan to upgrade all three legs of the nuclear triad — land-based missiles, submarines and bombers — as both unaffordable and dangerous overkill.

He’s made it clear in recent days that revamping the nation’s nuclear strategy will be one of his top priorities come January, when he is widely expected to take the gavel of the largest committee in Congress.

“The rationale for the triad I don’t think exists anymore. The rationale for the numbers of nuclear weapons doesn’t exist anymore,” Smith told the Ploughshares Fund, a disarmament group, at a recent gathering of the Democratic Party’s nuclear policy establishment.

The daylong conference included leading lawmakers, former National Security Council aides, peace activists and an ex-secretary of Defense, William Perry, who was once an architect of many of the nation’s nuclear weapons but is now a leading proponent for a major downsizing.

Arms control and disarmament groups see Smith’s emergence as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to craft a much more sensible approach to nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of a global conflict.

The mere appearance of a would-be Armed Services chairman at the recent gathering demonstrated how much circumstances have changed.

“I have never seen a chairman give nuclear policy such a high priority, have such personal expertise in the area, and be so committed to dramatic change,” said Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund.

Cirincione served as a staffer to then-Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.), who chaired the panel during the fierce debates over nuclear weapons policies in the 1980s, which he sees as an instructive period for today.

“I know that a Democratic House can have a major impact on nuclear policy,” he said. “It is the power of no — the ability to block programs, cut funding, withhold agreement to dangerous new policies. Democrats may not be able to enact new policies, but they can force compromises.”

High on the priority list is halting or delaying the development of a planned new nuclear bomb that would have less explosive power than a more traditional atomic bomb. The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review called for the so-called low-yield weapon last year.

Advocates assert that the weapon, to be launched from a submarine, will provide military commanders with more options and better deter nations such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran that are building up their own nuclear arsenals. Such a modest nuke would not destroy a city but would devastate a foreign army — and adversaries would have reason to fear that the U.S. might use it in a first strike.

But Smith, who will also influence the House Appropriations Committee’s recommendations for Pentagon funding, insists such a new weapon “brings us no advantage and it is dangerously escalating.”

“It just begins a new nuclear arms race with people just building nuclear weapons all across the board in a way that I think places us at greater danger,” he told Ploughshares Fund.

Democrats are expected to revive legislation proposed earlier this fall in both the House and Senate to try to roll back the program.

There’s no such thing as a low-yield nuclear war,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), one of the co-sponsors, who also gave his pitch at the Ploughshares Fund gathering this month. “Use of any nuclear weapon, regardless of its killing power, could be catastrophically destabilizing.”

Leading Democrats also have their sights on a new intercontinental ballistic missile that is under development as the future land-based leg of the nuclear triad. The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent is set to replace current ICBMs that are deployed in underground silos in Western states such as Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.

“The ICBM is where the debate will focus,” predicted Mieke Eoyang, vice president of national security at Third Way, a centrist think tank, and a former aide on the House Intelligence Committee.

One key argument will be cost, she added.

“People make the case for all three legs of the triad, but when you look at the budget situation, the Pentagon is going to have to make some tough choices,” Eoyang said in an interview. “The modernization of the triad is a big-ticket item that comes over and above what current Defense Department needs are — at a time when budget pressures are coming the other way.”

Critics also argue that the ICBM has outlived its usefulness.

Perry, who served as Pentagon chief for President Bill Clinton, has argued that the land-based ICBM is the leg of the triad that is most prone to miscalculation and an accidental nuclear war. He said submarine- and aircraft-launched nuclear weapons would provide a sufficient deterrent on their own.

But not everyone thinks cutting one leg of the triad will be easy. They cite the political clout of defense contractors and their political supporters in both parties, including the so-called ICBM Caucus — especially in the Senate, which will remain under Republican control.

“They won’t be able to take on the triad,” warned former Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, who chaired the national security and foreign affairs panel of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee.

But Tierney and others said the House can pursue other areas for reshaping nuclear policy — and force the Senate to take up their proposals.

One way is to revive legislation adopting a “no first use” policy for nuclear weapons, declaring that a president could not order the use of nuclear weapons without a declaration of war from Congress.

“We want to avoid the miscalculation of stumbling into a nuclear war,” Smith said. “And this is where I think the No First Use Bill is incredibly important: to send that message that we do not view nuclear weapons as a tool in warfare.”

The unfolding strategy will also rely on inserting new reporting requirements in defense legislation as a delaying tactic on some nuclear efforts or to compel the administration to reconsider its opposition to some arms control treaties.

While the president negotiates treaties and the Senate is vested with the constitutional authority to ratify them, the House also has some power to force the administration’s hand.

Trump, citing Russian violations, has threatened to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that Reagan signed with the then-Soviet Union in 1987. He recently sent national security adviser John Bolton to Moscow to relay the message.

But critics say the landmark treaty, which banned land-based missiles with ranges from 50 to 5,500 kilometers, is still worth trying to salvage with the Russians. And Democrats can try to force the Trump administration to curtail plans for a new cruise missile that would match the Russians.

The Democrats can put the cruise missile “back on its heels,” Tierney said. “Sometimes they can delay, sometimes defeat.”

Democrats also worry that the Trump administration will opt to not renew the New START Treaty with Russia, which expires in early 2021. That pact, reached in 2010, mandates that each side can have no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons and requires regular inspections to ensure each side is complying.

Trump and his advisers “are opposed to multilateralism just based on principle,” Smith told the crowd of arms control advocates. “That is John Bolton’s approach, that he doesn’t want to negotiate with the rest of the world, almost regardless of what it is that we negotiate.”

But Kimball, who met recently with Smith, said Democrats have options on that front, too.

“If the Trump administration threatens to allow New START to expire in 2021, the Democrats are not under any obligation to fund the administration’s request for nuclear weapons,” Kimball said.

He pointed out that Obama secured bipartisan Senate support for ratifying the New START treaty in return for a pledge to increase spending on upgrading the nuclear arsenal and new missile defense systems. “That linkage works the other way, too,” Kimball said.

What is clear is that the nuclear arms control crowd sees Smith as the best hope for change in many years.

“I don’t think it is going to be easy, but we see a chance that we haven’t seen in a long time to have a different path forward on nuclear weapons,” said Stephen Miles, director of Win Without War, an antiwar group. “There isn’t enough money available for the wild plans we had before, let alone Trump’s new objectives.”

The Danger of the Merchant of Merchants (Revelation 16)

America’s greatest danger: Nuclear war decision-making by Donald Trump

GREG NASH

BY LOUIS RENÉ BERES, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR

An inappropriate or irrational nuclear command decision by President Donald Trump is plainly conceivable. Nothing accurate can ever be said about the true probability of such a scenario, but it is not an unfounded worry.

Might this American president become subject to various forms of psychological debility? On 14 March 1976, in response to my specific query, I received a letter from General (USA/ret.) Maxwell Taylor, a former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, concerning nuclear risks of U.S. presidential decisional irrationality. Most noteworthy, in this handwritten response, is the straightforward warning contained in the closing paragraph. Ideally, cautioned Taylor, presidential irrationality is a problem that should be dealt with during an election, and not later on: “As to dangers arising from an irrational American president, the best protection is not to elect one.”

There are assorted structural protections built into any presidential order to use nuclear weapons, including substantial redundancy. Nonetheless, virtually all of these reassuring and mutually reinforcing safeguards could become operative only at the lower or sub-presidential nuclear command levels.

The safeguards do not apply to the Commander-in-Chief.

This means there likely exist no permissible legal grounds to disobey any presidential order to use nuclear weapons. In principle, certain very senior individuals in the designated military chain of command could sometime choose to invoke applicable “Nuremberg Obligations,” but any such last-minute invocation would almost surely need to yield to considerations of U.S. domestic law.

Should an American president operating within a bewildering chaos of his own making issue an irrational or seemingly irrational nuclear command, the only way for the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the National Security Adviser, and several possible others to effectively obstruct this order would be illegal “on its face.” Under the very best of circumstances, such informal safeguards might somehow manage to work for a time, but accepting the unrealistic assumption of “best case scenario” is hardly a rational or sensible path to nuclear security.

It follows that we Americans ought to ask for more predictable and promising institutional impediments to any debilitated president.

The United States is already navigating in uncharted waters.

While President Kennedy did engage in personal nuclear brinkmanship with the Soviet Union back in October 1962, he had calculated his own odds of a consequent nuclear war as “between one out of three and even.” This seemingly precise calculation, corroborated both by JFK biographer Theodore Sorensen, and by my own later private conversations with former JCS Chair Admiral Arleigh Burke (my colleague and roommate at the Naval Academy’s Foreign Affairs Conference of 1977) suggests that President Kennedy was either irrational in imposing his Cuban “quarantine” or that he was wittingly acting out certain untested principles of “pretended irrationality.”

JFK operated with serious and manifestly capable strategic advisors.

The most urgent threat of a mistaken or irrational presidential order to use nuclear weapons flows not from any “bolt-from-the-blue” nuclear attack – whether Russian, North Korean, or American – but from an uncontrollable escalatory process. Back in 1962, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev “blinked” early on in the “game,” thereby preventing mutual and irrecoverable nuclear harms. Now, however, any escalatory initiatives undertaken by President Trump could express very unstable decision-making processes.

Donald Trump should understand the unprecedented risks of being locked into an escalatory dynamic. Although this president might be well advised to seek escalation dominance in selected crisis negotiations with determined adversaries, he would also need to avoid catastrophic miscalculations.

Whether we like it or not, and at one time or another, nuclear strategy is a bewildering game that President Donald Trump will have to play. To best ensure that this easily-distracted president’s strategic moves will be rational, thoughtful, and cumulatively cost-effective, it will first be necessary to enhance the formal decisional authority of his most senior military and defense subordinates.

At a minimum, the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Security Advisor, and one or two others in appropriate nuclear command positions should immediately prepare to assume more broadly collaborative and secure judgments in extremis atomicum.

The only time for clarifying such indispensable preparations is now.

Louis René Beres, Ph.D. Princeton, is emeritus professor of international law at Purdue University. He is the author of 12 books and several hundred articles dealing with nuclear strategy and nuclear war. His newest book is “Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016; 2nd ed. 2018)

Putin and Trump are Trigger Happy

Vladimir Putin reveals he WILL fire nuclear weapon ‘sparking global catastrophe’

Matthew Kirkham

| UPDATED: 14:35, Fri, Nov 23, 2018

VLADIMIR Putin says he will be ready and prepared to fire a nuclear weapon, if Russia is subject to an incoming missile attack.

It is no secret that Putin feels a world without Russia “will not be the same”. In a personal interview with the Russian leader on Amazon Prime documentary “World Order”, Mr Putin discusses the controversial topic of Russia’s possible use of nuclear weaponry. Host Vladimir Solovjev asked: “When you have the nuclear button, when millions of lives are at stake, or maybe the whole humankind is in your hands, how do you make such decisions?”

In the documentary, released in March 2018, the Russian President claims “it is my Presidential responsibility”.

He then adds: “As for the nuclear button, I think it’s an inappropriate question, to put it mildly.

“We are not the first ones who started all this.

“Secondly, we have never used nuclear weapons. It was done by the United States in Japan. Who can guarantee it won’t happen again? Besides we are not the only nuclear state.”

He also pointed out that Russia’s military doctrine does not envision a preventive nuclear strike, underlining that Moscow would only use its nuclear weapons if an early warning systems detected missiles moving towards Russia.

He added: “But I want you to know, I want our people to know that our plans to use nuclear weapons, and I hope it will never happen, but, theoretically, it is the so-called ‘launch under attack’.”

According to the Russian leader, the decision to use nuclear weapons can only be taken if their early-warning system not only registers the launch of missiles, but also gives the exact prognosis of the trajectory.

Vladimir Putin watches the launch of a missile during a military exercise (Image: Getty)

In other words, if someone decides to destroy Russia, “we will have a legitimate right to retaliate,” Vladimir Putin confirms.

Mr Putin adds: “Yes, it will be a global catastrophe, a catastrophe for the entire world.”

Earlier this year, Putin also praised Russia’s growing hypersonic arsenal as “invincible” during a state of the nation address.

Vladimir Putin hits out at US for ‘political incompetence’

The weapons included a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and a new hypersonic missile.

Speaking at an international policy forum in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi earlier this year, Mr Putin revealed: ”The aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable, and he will be destroyed.

“We would be victims of an aggression and would get to heaven as martyrs.”

Nuclear Threshold Drastically Reduced

Senators propose change of doctrine so Russia could respond with nukes to any ‘strategic strike’

Published time: 21 Nov, 2018 17:54

An Iskander-M launcher on display. The system is capble of shooting short-range nuclear-tipped missiles. ©Sputnik / Ramil Sidrikov

Russia should be allowed to use its nuclear arsenal in response to a non-nuclear strike with a strategic weapon, Russian senators believe. Their recommendation is to amend Russia’s nuclear posture accordingly.

A suggestion to make the Russian nuclear doctrine more flexible was one of the recommendations backed by the upper chamber of the Russian parliament late on Wednesday.

The senators said the Russian National Security Council should prepare and propose an amendment on the nuclear doctrine, which would allow taking a decision to retaliate in case of enemy use of hypersonic and other strategic conventional weapons against Russia, reported RIA Novosti.

Yars ICBM launchers during a military parade. Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev

Russian nuclear doctrine was last reviewed in 2014, when the current escalation of tensions with the West was just unfolding.

It allows the armed forces to deploy nuclear weapons on two scenarios. One is in response to a strike with a nuclear weapon or another weapon of mass destruction against Russia or one of its allies. Another is when a nuclear strike is necessary to prevent a conventional attack threatening the existence of Russia as a sovereign state.

The US has since amended its nuclear posture, relaxing restrictions on when it could use nuclear weapons.

The latest review published in February is intentionally somewhat vague, but it called for developing new kinds of nuclear weapons and indicated that the US may nuke a country for as little as launching a cyberattack against America or one of its allies.

The US has also recently announced its intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a key Cold War era agreement with Russia which led to large-scale denuclearization of Europe. The treaty banned both the US and Russia from developing and deploying nuclear-capable land-based missiles with the range best suited for an exchange between Russia and European members of NATO.

Hundreds of such weapons deployed by each side prior to sealing the INF agreement were a major destabilizing factor. They required only minutes in flight to reach their targets, as opposed to dozens of minutes for intercontinental missiles. So if a launch were to be detected, it would leave almost no time to assess whether it was an actual attack requiring a response or a false alarm.

The recommendations from the Senate were the result of a round table discussion with officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Staff and the Security Council.